iPhone 7 review: Its speed and camera are crazy-good, but it still drives me crazy

I miss the headphone jack, OK?

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My hands-on time with the AirPods at their unveiling was promising enough that I’d like to hold out for those, and so I don’t currently have a set of Bluetooth headphones that I like. So my biggest problem with the iPhone 7 is that I can’t listen to wired headphones and charge the phone at the same time, since both of those require the Lightning port. Depending on your daily routine, you might not find yourself ever needing to do that. But I find myself needing to charge while wanting to listen fairly often, typically a few times a week.

earpods lightning Apple

The Lightning EarPods can tide me over until the AirPods ship, but I’m salty I can’t charge my phone while I’m using them.

Just yesterday I found myself on a commuter bus stuck in traffic, watching my iPhone 7, which was already in Low Power Mode, slip down below 10 percent. If I wanted to connect it to one of the USB battery packs I keep in my bag, I’d have to stop listening to podcats while it charged. Instead, I popped it into Airplane Mode to squeeze as much battery life as I could. I got home with 2 percent charge left, but I missed a text message from my husband in the process—pretty annoying. I also tend to workout in the evenings, so sometimes I’ll top up my iPhone with a USB battery pack while I’m also using it to stream music over Spotify while I ride my exercise bike—wearing headphones. With the iPhone 7, I have to choose: charge the phone while blasting music over the speakers, or wait to exercise with my headphones until the phone has a chance to top off? (Or get yet another adapter, like this big ol’ Lightning splitter from Belkin.)

The moral of this story is that I really need some Bluetooth headphones, I realize. But I can’t help feeling a little resentful when a piece of technology, in this case the iPhone 7, introduces a new problem that requires me to buy more technology to solve it.

Bottom line

The things that are great about the iPhone 7—primarily its speed and the camera—are likely to be even better in the next generation. On the other hand, the things that aggravate me about this iPhone—namely, the weird Home button and the aggravation of switching to wireless headphones—are likely to be improved.

If you’re excited enough about the camera to upgrade, or your current iPhone is old enough that you want to upgrade, this is the best iPhone for you. But if the drawbacks make you want to sit out a year, I think that’s really smart.

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At a Glance
  • The iPhone 7 has more speed, a better camera, double the storage, and a more vibrant screen. But some people might be turned off by little annoyances that previous iPhones didn't have.


    • A10 Fusion chip is crazy fast, approaching laptop speeds
    • Great camera performance


    • No headphone port, so you can't charge and listen to wired headphones at the same time
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